newsletter archive
     Sprawl Watch 
     Volume 4, Number 5- February 20, 2002

 This Week's Content: 

 = = = State and Local News = = = 
 As the state's best farmland is disappearing at a rate of 40,000 acres per year from sprawling development, Californians
 will vote on a bond issue (Proposition 40) this March that would grant $75 million for protection of farmland and other
 open spaces. The bond initiative would commit funding toward the purchase of agricultural conservation easements, a
 voluntary tool for farmers who want to permanently protect their land from development. Passage of this act would mark
 the largest voter-approved tax contribution toward such conservation programs. For more information contact: Julia
 Berry, American Farmland Trust, 

 Infill Development 
 Cobb County, GA is running out of vacant land. The shortage of vacant land pushes rezonings and redevelopment of
 property has become a hot issue. Cobb officials are already brainstorming ways to control this movement. "We need to
 come up with rules that will be very specific to infill pieces," Hosack said.  Part of this process has been defining what
 exactly defines undeveloped land. 

 According to a new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Talmey-Drake Research and Strategy, the No. 1
 issue with Colorado residents remains growth. In the poll, 52 percent of those surveyed cited growth as the most
 important issue facing Colorado. The poll also showed that possible solutions to Colorado's growth woes, including
 charging developers impact fees to pay for new schools and increasing funding in order to buy land to keep it from
 development, were extremely popular.,1002,61%257E413404,00.html 

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the new Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC)
 measures designed to cut traffic-related pollution in the Bay Area, assuring that a freeze on about $716 million worth of
 highway and transit projects will be lifted. The MTC measures now go before the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, which have held up approval of new federal contracts since Jan. 21 for lack of EPA

 The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce is asking the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Regional
 Transportation Authority to establish a common set of measures for the region's air and mobility. The measures would
 include statistics on such things as the percentage of jobs located within a quarter mile of public transportation to the
 average amount of time drivers spend in congested traffic conditions and the amount of pollutants per day entering the
 region's air from moving cars. 

 Washington D.C. Region 
 Members of the Washington region's Transportation Planning Board are expected to postpone spending $38 million for
 additional clean air measures.  Groups criticize the delay saying that regional officials are stalling because they would rather spend money on widening roads than on cleaner air. 

 Regional Tax-sharing 
 California's most powerful trade associations, representing thousands of stores, malls and shopping centers, are opposing
 the states bill AB680, which would force 18 cities and six counties of metropolitan Sacramento to share some of their
 sales taxes regionally. A formidable coalition of labor unions, neighborhood activists, church groups and urban planners
 thinks the experiment will help struggling older cities compete financially with outer-ring suburbs rich with auto malls and
 new chain stores. 

 Following a January Regional Transportation Summit, members of the South Florida Regional Transportation Organization have been working on a plan for a Regional Transportation Authority. One idea is to reorganize the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization to a broader, regional level may support the transportation authority. For more information, click For more information on the South Florida Regional Transportation Organization, visit  

 = = = New Releases = = = 
 The Conservation Law Foundation and the Vermont Forum on Sprawl have just completed a guidebook for volunteer
 board members, planners, concerned citizens,and others who want to achieve smart growth in their communities. The
 guidebook "Community Rules: A New England Guide to Smart Growth Strategies" is accessible and authoritative, and is
 full of examples of communities in New England and elsewhere that have laid the groundwork for smart growth through
 sensible planning, zoning and other strategies. To order Community Rules, contact the Conservation Law Foundation at
 800-370-0697 or order it online at  

 In the most far-reaching initiative of its kind in the nation, a Bay Area business group has created a $100 million "smart
 growth" fund meant to revitalize poor neighborhoods. 
 The professional fund management team will invest private dollars and work with community groups, nonprofit
 organizations and developers to bring jobs, housing and amenities such as parks into 46 low-income neighborhoods. 

 = = = National News = = = 
 On (2/13) the Senate passed, S. 1731, the Agriculture, Conservation and Rural Enhancement Act of 2001, which
 includes $4.4 Billion in annual average USDA conservation spending.  This funding will be used to support farmers and
 ranchers who choose to adopt practices to improve water quality, preserve farmland, restore wildlife habitat, and protect
 wetlands.  It also provides $50 million to identify and preserve private forest land, "preserve suburban open space, and
 contain suburban sprawl." 

 USDA conservation programs have been heavily over-subscribed, with 84% of the funds requested by farmers in FY
 2001 being denied due to inadequate funding.  The Senate bill substantially increases funding for these programs to meet
 this demand. 

 Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman and Habitat for Humanity International have begun a
 partnership to build energy-efficient housing on former brownfields sites. The government agency and the nonprofit
 homebuilding group have worked together before on brownfield housing in Wellston, Missouri, and Minneapolis. The new  memorandum of understanding will expand the work to five additional cities yet to be chosen. EPA will use brownfields money to perform environmental assessments at community-identified brownfields properties so that Habitat will be able to locate safe and affordable building lots. 
 Memorandum of Understanding: 

                                        Sprawl Watch 
                              Volume 4, Number 4- February 13, 2002

 = = =Highlight = = = 
 In his third week in office, New Jersey’s new Democratic Governor James E. McGreevey signed an expansive executive
 order on Jan. 31 firmly committing his Administration to implementation of New Jersey’s State Development and
 Redevelopment Plan and the principles of smart growth.  Long recognized for its strong planning concepts, New Jersey’s
 State Plan also has been widely criticized for its lack of enforcement mechanisms at the state and local level.  The new
 order provides enforcement at the state level by:  

      authorizing the state attorney general to defend or intervene on behalf of towns when their smart growth planning or
      zoning is challenged, in cases of statewide significance 
      ordering that school construction abide by smart growth principles, helping to revitalize existing communities and
      preserve open space 
      requiring streamlined initiatives and points of contact for redeveloping communities 
      ordering transportation and infrastructure rules and spending to be consistent with the principles of smart growth
      and New Jersey’s State Plan 
      creating a Smart Growth Council made up of Cabinet officers and other leaders from the Executive Branch of
      Government.  For the first time, these leaders will sit down regularly to coordinate their planning, spending and
      regulations with each other, and with New Jersey’s State Plan. 

 The state is also re-staffing the Office of State Planning after widely criticized budget-related layoffs earlier in January. 
 The new office will be a part of a new division of smart growth with the Department of Community Affairs.  The
 Governor’s order moves New Jersey to the front ranks of states with Cabinet-level coordination of smart growth

 = = = State and Local News = = = 
 Florida's program for cleaning up and developing contaminated sites "brownfields" has been hailed nationally as a model
 for other states. But state auditors released a report that blasted Florida's "brownfields" program as ineffective, finding that there has been been "relatively little progress" in actually cleaning up any land. 

 Under a bill pending in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, farms of 1,000 acres or more would be
 eligible for an additional tax exemption worth up to 75 percent of the property value if farm owners would sign an
 agreement to keep the land in agriculture for 10 years. 

 For the Bay Area, politicians have little choice but to proclaim transportation  improvements as a top policy priority. With
 disgruntled commuters representing a pivotal constituency, this year's Assembly candidates have responded with calls for
 smart growth. 

 Quality of Life 
 ABC News reported on 2/7 that Atlanta's quality of life is challenged because of rapid growth. To read the brief story
 please link to: 

 North Carolina 
 The Charlotte Observer has published the first in a series of articles which, over the next couple of months, will examine
 environmental and quality of life issues for the region. This first article can be found at 

 = = = National News = = = 
 The Conservation Fund and Eastman Kodak Company are now accepting applications for the 2002 Kodak American
 Greenways Awards program. Applications for the awards, which provide important seed money to stimulate greenway
 planning and design, may be submitted to The Conservation Fund until June 1, 2002. The award recipients, announced in
 early fall, will receive grants of $500 to $2500 to support their pioneering work in linking the nation’s natural areas,
 historic sites, parks and open space. Community-based organizations, including local, regional and statewide nonprofits,
 are encouraged to apply. To learn more about the Kodak American Greenways Awards Program or to apply online, visit
 the Fund’s website, under “Awards” 

 = = = New Releases = = = 
 A new national report released by the American Planning Association (APA) , "Planning for Smart Growth: 2002
 State of the States " shows that smart growth measures are most successful in states where planning statutes have been
 modernized. The report finds that in many cases outdated planning laws are preventing states from effectively implementing smart growth measures to address urban sprawl, scattered rural development, farmland protection ands other issues. As a result, unmanaged development is costing states millions of dollars in wasteful and inefficient expenditures. For more information, visit our website at A new national report released by the American Planning Association (APA) , "Planning for Smart Growth: 2002 State of the States " shows that smart growth measures are most successful in states where planning statutes have been modernized. The report finds that in many cases outdated planning laws are preventing states from effectively implementing smart growth measures to address urban sprawl, scattered rural development, farmland protection ands other issues. As a result, unmanaged development is costing states millions of dollars in wasteful and inefficient expenditures. For more information, visit our website at

 "Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation" is a new publication in the ongoing smart growth series
 from the Smart Growth Network and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). This 100-page
 resource serves as a "roadmap" for states and communities that have recognized the need for smart growth, but are
 unclear on how to achieve it. The document provides ten policy options to achieve each of the ten Smart Growth
 Principles endorsed by the Smart Growth Network. For example, to achieve the smart growth objective of mixed land
 uses, communities are offered policy options ranging from efforts to encourage employees to live near their work, to the
 adoption of parallel building codes to foster more innovative design, to the conversion of declining commercial centers into
 mixed-use developments. The publication is available free of charge online at 

 New from the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, "Growth and Convergence in
 Metropolitan America." While most urban research focuses on differences in population growth rates between cities and
 suburbs, Janet Rothenberg Pack's new book makes regional comparisons by measuring the health of 277 metropolitan
 areas with broad socioeconomic indicators. The book analyzes per capita incomes, poverty, unemployment rates, and
 educational attainment between 1960 and 1990 and examines an array of policy prescriptions that promote regional
 economic growth and well-being. 

                                        Sprawl Watch 
                              Volume 4, Number 3- February 6, 2002

 = = = State and Local News = = = 
 Affordable Housing 
 North Carolina 
 The Chapel Hill Town Council has agreed to establish a loan fund from which nonprofit organizations can borrow money
 to help purchase moderately priced homes that are being bought by private developers and converted into student rentals.
 During the past decade, elected officials have made it a priority to maintain the stock of modestly priced homes so
 housekeepers, police officers, school teachers and others who work in Chapel Hill also can afford to live in them. 

 Development Moratorium 
 In Atlanta, two almost identical development moratoriums imposed last month prompted sharply different reactions from
 the building community. Both moratoriums' goals are the same: to buy time to update ordinances and land use plans ---
 regulations that will shape growth. 

 Green Infrastructure 
 Chicago region land managers will discuss the needs of isolated habitat.  As urban development and suburban sprawl
 encroach on open spaces, land managers have turned their attention increasingly to smaller, fragmented habitats and

 High Density 
 New Jersey 
 A New Jersey state Superior Court judge refused to allow construction of a supermarket and affordable housing complex
 on a tract of land that the judge said was too small for such high-density development. The judge said the land likely could
 support a supermarket or an apartment complex -- but not both. 

 The California Assembly has passed a bill that divides up future growth of sales tax revenue in the Sacramento region
 based, in part, on population and local commitment to affordable housing. A controversial bill that calls for a modicum of
 sales tax revenue-sharing in the Sacramento region has passed the state Assembly. The bill also contains a laundry list of
 other "smart growth" provisions, including additional regional land use and transportation planning responsibilities for the
 Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and creation of an open space conservancy,

 Gov. Bill Owens' plan to help solve Colorado's transportation woes by creating a statewide tolling authority could result in
 motorists paying tolls for roads they now drive for free. Several other plans to unclog the state's roads already have been
 unveiled at the Capitol.,1002,61%257E383534,00.html 

 The Washington House approved a regional financing plan for highway projects that 
 could raise billions of dollars for Puget Sound projects. The measure is one of two competing bills that could help the
 region fix traffic congested points. 

 = = = National News = = = 
 Public Health 
 New research shows that children who breathe heavily polluted air are more likely to develop asthma. The study was
 conducted by the University of Southern California and sponsored by the California Environmental Protection Agency's
 Air Resources Board.  Asthma is now the leading serious chronic illness among children, afflicting about 9 million children,
 and disproportionately affecting children in urban areas. 

 To read the article, visit  

 Sustainable Cities 
 The George Washington Center on Sustainable Growth is sponsoring an International Forum on Sustainable Cities on
 February 13, 2002 in Washington, DC. As this summer's Sustainability Summit in South Africa approaches, the focus will
 be on the future of cities across the world. Speakers include: Governor Jaime Lerner of Curitiba, Brazil;  Sankie Dolly
 Mthembi-Mahanyele, South Africa's Minister of Housing ; Robert D. Kaplan, American author and foreign
 The Forum, to be held at the George Washington University.Reservations are required. Please contact Toni Foncette Details are available at 

  = = =New Releases = = = 
 A new report from the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy "City Families And Suburban
 Singles: An Emerging Household Story From Census 2000" uses 2000 Census data to analyze changes in the number and
 composition of households in 102 large metropolitan areas between 1990 and 2000.  It finds that growing cities are
 adding population faster than households, and that declining cities are losing population faster than households. The types
 of households contributing to growth and decline vary widely across the U.S., and challenge conventional notions of who
 lives in cities and suburbs. Singles now make up a larger share of suburban households than married couples with children. At the same time, "married with children" families are on the rise in many cities in the South and West. 

 A new state of the region report about Metropolitan Philadelphia "Flight or Fight: Metropolitan Philadelphia And Its
 Future", is a frank assessment of the Philadelphia regions growth over the last 30 years, and how growth has affected its
 communities. Flight or Fight is a product of the Metropolitan Philadelphia Policy Center, a collaborative effort of the
 Pennsylvania Economy League, The Reinvestment Fund, and 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.  For more information
 about the report please email

 A new study looking at demand for denser, more walkable residential areas finds that demand will shortly exceed supply
 for such housing choices. The study considered various consumer surveys and demographic changes. According to the
 study, "Home buyers aged 45 and older who prefer denser, more compact housing alternatives will account for 31
 percent of total homeowner growth during the 2000-10 period, double the same segment's market share in the 1990's."
 Additionally, the report concludes that, "Despite widespread awareness of the importance of the aging baby boomers in
 the housing market, housing analysts do not seem to have grasped the implications for building more compact cities that
 include walkable neighborhoods." The full study is at